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You want to impress the hiring team and demonstrate that you’re the ideal candidate for the job.
While it may seem like a lot is riding on this one meeting, there are certain things you can do to boost your chances of success. We’ll discuss the job interview process and how to make a great impression from start to finish.
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The Importance Of An Interview
Understanding the importance of a job interview helps frame your mindset and aids your success. The interview process matters to both the interviewee and the employer.
For the interviewee, an interview is a chance to:
- Showcase their skills
- Demonstrate their fit for the role
- Get to know the company culture
- Impress the hiring team
From the employer’s perspective, an interview is an opportunity to:
- Evaluate a candidate’s qualifications
- Assess their fit for the role and company culture
- Get to know a candidate as a person
Employers also need to evaluate whether a potential candidate will affect their rate of attrition in the future, is the candidate likely to work for the company long-term, or is it more of a short-term form of employment.
In order to make sure you tick all the boxes, you should go into your interview prepared and well-educated. The more preparation you do, the better your interview will go!
Common Job Interview Questions You Can Prepare For
First, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with questions frequently asked in most interviews. This way, you can be prepared to answer them confidently and avoid those awkward pauses we’re all guilty of sometimes.
Here are some examples of common interview questions and how to prepare winning answers for each.
This famous question is one of the first, if not the first, asked in many interviews. With so many pertinent details in our lives, it can be hard to choose what to talk about, and you may wonder why it matters.
The truth is it’s the perfect opportunity to give your potential employer a snapshot of who you are.
When preparing your answer, focus on highlighting aspects of your professional life relevant to the role you’re applying for. You can also touch on your personal life, but don’t get too bogged down in the details.
Short, concise, and to-the-point answers are key. The focus should be on your study, professional life, and how your skills and experience can benefit the company.
Be confident! Now is your chance to sell yourself and demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the job posting.
When preparing your answer, focus on the unique skills and experiences that make you the ideal candidate.
Focus on what makes you stand out and identify the attributes that make your contributions different and necessary. If you’re looking for the best opportunity to mention any relevant qualifications or awards you may have, this is it!
When answering this question, be confident, but avoid sounding arrogant. Justify your claims with examples of your work or achievements.
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Designed to assess your long-term goals, employers use this question to gauge your self-motivation and commitment to the company.
When preparing your answer, focus on how you see yourself developing within the company. Touch on your ambitions and what you hope to achieve in the next five years.
Your career goals are important here, not your personal goals. While it may be fun to discuss with coworkers later, the interviewer is not interested in whether you plan to marry or buy a house in the next five years.
Keep your answer focused on your professional development and how you hope to contribute to the company’s growth.
Companies ask this question for a deeper look into what motivated you to apply. It also allows the interviewer to gauge your interest in the company.
When preparing your answer, focus on what drew you to the role and why you’re excited about it. Mention anything you know about the company, especially the things that impressed you.
Your answer should demonstrate a genuine interest in the role and company. Steer clear of generic answers that could apply to any job or company.
Touted as one of the most difficult questions to answer, salary expectations are often a major sticking point in the interview process.
When preparing your answer, be realistic and focus on what you would like to earn based on your skills and experience. It can be helpful to do some research beforehand to manage your expectations and have a good idea of what similar positions in the market are paying.
Most importantly, know your value and demonstrate a willingness to negotiate. Be confident in your answer and avoid sounding desperate or underqualified.
10 Tips To Ace Your Next Interview
Now that you know how to answer some of the most common interview questions, here are a few additional tips to help you ace your next interview.
A crucial part of preparing for an interview is researching the company itself. Employers want employees who intend to stay, and the more you know about the company, the more you demonstrate the genuine interest that leads to employee longevity.
It will also help you avoid any awkwardness if you’re asked specific questions about the company and help you better understand the role.
Make sure to read through the company’s website and any relevant news articles. Resources like these will give you a good idea of their culture, values, and what they’re currently working on.
If you have the opportunity, speak to someone who works for the company. Speaking to a current employee gives you an inside look at the workplace and work culture– an authentic glimpse you won’t find anywhere else. You will get a better idea of what it’s like to work there and whether it’s the right fit for you.
Researching the company will also help you prepare for questions like, “What do you know about our company?” and “Why are you interested in working for us?”.
Whatever happens, you don’t want to walk into an interview and say you know nothing about the company you’ve applied to work for.
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to start practicing your responses to common interview questions, as well as a few not-so-common interview questions, to ensure you are as prepared as you can be.
The run-through will help you sound more confident and prepared on the actual interview day.
Start by writing down a list of questions you think the interviewer might ask. Then, practice answering them out loud. You can even record yourself to listen back and see how you sound.
If you’re struggling to come up with answers to questions, ask a friend or family member to help you. They might be able to give you some guidance or feedback on your responses.
Practicing your responses to questions will help to calm your nerves and make you feel more confident on the interview day. You also get to work on your eye contact and body language, both factors any good employer looks at in an interview.
One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to read and understand the job description as best you can. It will help you know what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate and what skills they value.
Knowing what is expected of you in the role will also help you prepare for questions about your experience and qualifications for the job.
When you’re reading the job description, make a list of the skills and qualities required for the role. Then, match them up with your skills and experiences. This will help you see where you fit in and what you can bring to the company.
If you have any questions concerning the job description, you can bring them up during the interview. It looks good to a potential employer when you can ask job-specific questions of your own!
If you have a portfolio of work, make sure to bring it to the interview. The hiring manager will then get to see your work and have a better idea of your skills.
When choosing what to include in your portfolio, focus on pieces that highlight the required skills for the job. For example, if you’re applying for a design job, include examples of your best design work.
Certifications and awards from your previous employer are also great to include in your portfolio. Awards like these show the hiring manager that you’re a top performer and that you have the potential to be successful in the role.
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First impressions are crucial, so you want to be on time for your interview. Nothing is worse than showing up late and putting a bad taste in the employer’s mouth before they’ve met you.
Being punctual demonstrates that you are reliable and value the company’s time.
If you’re not sure where the office is, make sure to map it out ahead of time to avoid getting lost and being late.
Arriving early for the interview is also a good idea, so you have time to relax and compose yourself before the interview. A little time to breathe will help you feel more confident and prepared when it’s time to speak to the hiring manager.
Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the company and the role. It also allows you to get more information about the job and helps you determine if it’s right for you.
Some interviewers will ask if you have any questions at the end of the interview. Now is your chance to ask about anything you’ve had in mind that wasn’t answered.
Ask about the company culture, team dynamic, training methods, and day-to-day work. These are all pivotal factors to consider when deciding if a job is right for you, and demonstrate your communication skills, too.
Avoid asking questions answered on the company website or through a simple Google search, since it can make you look unprepared or uninterested.
The hiring manager wants to know if you’re a good fit for the company, and one of the best ways to show this is by being yourself!
Let your personality shine through in the interview so that the hiring manager gets an idea of who you are.
Be careful not to come across as arrogant or cocky, as this will make you seem difficult to work with. Instead, focus on being confident and personable.
Confidence makes or breaks an interview. If you’re not confident, the hiring manager will be able to tell, and it will reflect poorly on you.
So, how do you build confidence before your interview?
First, make sure you’re prepared by knowing everything about the job and the company. Second, practice your answers to common interview questions.
Employers gauge confidence not just by listening to your interview responses, but by noting your eye contact, body language, and overall attitude.
Your choice of interview attire says a lot about you as a candidate. For most interviews, it’s best to err on the side of formality and choose professional clothing that is conservative and not too flashy.
Business-casual attire shows you’re taking the interview seriously and that you respect the company’s time. It also shows you would be a good fit for a professional work environment.
In addition to your clothing, it’s important to make sure that you have a professional demeanor. Be polite and respectful to the interviewer, maintain eye contact, and speak clearly. Your goal is to show that you’re a capable and professional individual who would be an asset to the company.
Maintain hygiene and avoid any strong scents, which can be a distraction.
A small gesture that goes a long way, sending a thank-you email shows that you’re grateful for the opportunity and still interested in the job.
It’s best to send this email within 24 hours of your interview. In the email, thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the role.
Sending a thank-you email is a simple way to stand out from other candidates and to show that you’re truly interested in the job. It is also a mark of professional courtesy.
Some Useful Tools To Assist With Your Interview Preparations
There are a couple of handy tools out there that can help you prepare for your next interview, some of our favorites include NoteLedge and Evernote.
NoteLedge is great for taking notes on the go and can assist with keeping your interview notes, links from websites, and other useful information all in one creative space that you can edit and access whenever you please.
It can be helpful for keeping track of different companies you interview with and inserting links or screenshots of their respective websites or the job listing itself.
Evernote is another well-known note-taking tool that can provide you with a nice scheduling feature to keep track of all your interview note prep as well as notes for after the interview and the process that will follow.
The interview stage is constantly evolving, and it’s important to be prepared for whatever the interviewer throws your way. These tips will help you ace your next interview, whether it is an in-person or video interview.
Remember to be yourself, show that you’re prepared, and be confident. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to land the job of your dreams.